The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has warned that despite those who have had both vaccines people could still die as the Indian variant is spreading throughout the UK.
Those who have had both doses of the vaccine are around 97% effective in preventing people from dying, but the “flip side” of that means there is still a chance that people could die.
Appearing on Sky New’s Sophy Ridge programme Hancock was asked, “So some people who have been vaccinated frankly could still end up in hospital and could still die?”
The Health Secretary said, “Well a very small proportion that is true under the existing variants as well.
“The flip-side of saying 97% protection against death is that it does still leave that three percent chance.
“It is one of the reasons why in the long-term we talk about where we want to get with this disease is managing it like flu.
“People get vaccinated for flu every year as well.
“It is all about getting risks down to a manageable level.”
There is a “high degree of confidence” the vaccines will protect against the Indian variant, Hancock added.
experts are warning that the Indian variant could take the NHS beyond capacity to cope within weeks and Hancock warned it can “spread faster” than the Kent strain.
The Health Secretary said on Monday that the Indian variant is “becoming the dominant coronavirus strain in some parts of the country.”
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned, if the Indian variant is 10 to 20% more transmissible, the UK will see a rise in patients being hospitalised.
The government’s advisory group gave a further grim warning that if the strain is between 30 and 50% more transmissible, this would take the NHS beyond their capacity to cope.
Dr Richard Jarvis warned, “It is a real worry that when further measures lift on 17 May, the majority of younger people, who are often highly socially mobile and could therefore be most at risk of a more infectious strain, are not yet vaccinated.”